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Marek Matraszek
Chairman, CEC Group

Marek Matraszek was born in the UK and studied at Magdalen College, Oxford, where he graduated in Philosophy, Politics and Economics in 1984. Following a year in Poland teaching at the Catholic University of Lublin, he returned to Magdalen to obtain an M.Phil degree in Russian and East European Studies in 1987. He then continued his studies at Oxford, reading for a doctoral dissertation.

Marek moved to Poland in 1990 as a freelance political consultant, and worked closely with both the British Conservative Party and the US Republican Party in assisting their activities in Central Europe. In 1992 he was appointed to represent the Margaret Thatcher Foundation in the region, and continued to be active in political journalism and think-tank work in Central Europe throughout the 1990s.

He co-established CEC in the early 1990s as the first Western-style public affairs consultancy in Central Europe, and has since then seen the company grow into the leading public affairs and political communications brand in the region. He has designed and implemented strategic communications and lobbying campaigns for major US, UK and European multinationals in Poland and in the Central European region as a whole, with a special focus on defence, aviation and energy. Today he oversees CEC Group’s regional activities, its growth into new product areas and client sectors, and international brand and network positioning.

Marek has written widely on Polish and international affairs for publications such as Poland Monthly, Warsaw Business Journal, The Spectator and Wall Street Journal Europe, and has published a study of the Polish political scene, The Politics of Restoration. He has commentated on Polish politics for Polish Radio, the BBC, CNN, CNBC and other media outlets, and is on Twitter at @matraszek.

A UK citizen, he speaks Polish fluently.

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Michał Koczalski
Managing Partner, Poland

Michał Koczalski is the Managing Partner of the Warsaw office of CEC, with a focus on advising, building and executing corporate public affairs strategies, especially in the energy and environmental sectors. He is also currently co-chair of the Energy & Environment Committee of Amcham in Poland, as well as Founder & Vice-President of the Foundation for the Promotion of Electric Vehicles.

Michal graduated from the Applied Linguistics Faculty at the University of Warsaw, specialising in cultural aspects of English and German-speaking countries. He is also a graduate of the London School of Public Relations programme at the Polish Public Relations Consultancies Association (ZFPR), the School for Leaders of Civil Society and the Aspen Institute programme for young leaders.

Prior to joining CEC, Michal worked in the Agricultural Property Agency (ANR) as press officer responsible for media relations and development of new communication channels. Among his successful projects in ANR were the implementation of a corporate branding strategy and instituting mechanisms for the promotion of investment land.

Michal has long been active in the field of supporting cultural, business and political initiatives based in Szczecin and the promotion of the province of Western Pomerania, including in his role as president of an association and a foundation.

He speaks Polish, English and German fluently. He dedicates his spare time to his son and his vinyl record collection.

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Vaclav Nekvapil
Managing Partner, Czechia

Vaclav is the Managing Partner of the Prague office of CEC. His public affairs expertise is especially strong in ICT, financial services, EU affairs, defence, transport, FMCG, third party outreach and building relations with stakeholders.

Vaclav graduated in political science from Charles University in Prague in 2005, obtained a postgraduate qualification in public administration and diplomacy at the École nationale d’administration (ENA) in 2008 and Ph.D. in politics from Charles University in 2013. His other academic qualifications and experience include a Marshall Memorial Fellowship (2010) and an internship at the European Union Institute for Security Studies in Paris (2008).

After 2004, Vaclav was a senior adviser to a member of the Czech Parliament and worked for the Office of the Government. He also served as Vice Chairman and Research Director of a leading Czech think-tank, the Association for International Affairs (AMO) where he headed a team of research fellows, commented on foreign policy for domestic and international media and ran international projects in Belarus, Ukraine and in the South Caucasus.

After 2008, Vaclav became Executive Director for the Association for Communication in the Public Sector, where he was responsible for management of the organization, cooperation with partners and members (ministries, regions, and municipalities), political parties, designing and preparing communication projects, research and training for civil servants, as well as consultancy in political marketing, PR and communication for senior politicians.

In 2012 he became President of the newly established Association of Public Affairs Agencies of the Czech Republic (APAA), and he is a registered lobbyist in the EU Joint Transparency Register.

Vaclav is fluent in Czech, English and French, with a working knowledge of German.

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Patrik Zoltvany
Managing Partner, Slovakia

Patrik is the Managing Partner of the Bratislava office of CEC, supported by a team of Slovak nationals. CEC Slovakia has special expertise in Automotive, Competition Policy, Corporate Social Responsibility, Energy, Environment, Foreign Direct Investment, Finance, Food & Consumers, Health & Pharma, IT & Telecom, Public Procurement and Transport.

Patrik started his career in the area of Pre-Accession Projects as project manager and consultant. Later he developed a wider EU consulting capability, advising on EU Structural Funds, Regulatory Affairs, Competition & State Aid, External Trade, EU Institutional Functioning and Capacity Building. Prior to this, Patrik was a Researcher in the European Parliament, drafting political and economic research papers on candidate countries.
 
Patrik has acted as EU Affairs Adviser to the Slovak Minister of Industry, as member of the EU Affairs Committee to the National Union of Employers, EU institutions, and various business, public sector and NGO clients. Patrik was heavily involved in assisting the business sector in Slovakia for preparations for EU membership, and as a member of the TEAM EUROPA run by the European Commission he was also involved in the campaign for EU membership.
 
Patrik was a member of the European Economic and Social Committee in Brussels where he serves was Member of the REX (External Affairs Committee) and TEN (transport, energy, infrastructure) Sections. He is also a Vice-Chairman of the European Public Policy Partnership (EPPP) think-tank.
 
Patrik speaks fluent Slovak, Hungarian, English, basic French and Croat.

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Tamas Sardi
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Tamas Sardi
Managing Partner, Hungary

Tamas is the Managing Partner of the Budapest office of CEC. CEC Hungary has special expertise in the IT & Digital, Tobacco, Retail, Energy, Defence, Health & Pharma, Circular Economy &
Environment, Utilities, FMCG and Finance sectors.

Tamas has a Master of Science degree from the London School of Economics and Political Science, where he graduated in European Studies, EU Policy-Making and International Business. He earlier graduated from the Faculty of International Relations at the Budapest University of Economic Sciences with a degree in European Studies and Tourism. Prior to joining CEC in January 2002, Tamas worked for the Hungarian Ministry of Economy on a number of investment projects.

At CEC, Tamas has headed accounts with multinational and local clients including Pfizer, Wolt, Ericsson, Tesco, Google, Tetrapak, SAP, MOL, E.ON, Philip Morris, Procter & Gamble, PWC, GDF Suez, T-systems, SAB Miller and many others. He has executed public affairs campaigns at the European level, working with decision makers in various EU institutions, the European Commission, the European Council, PermReps, and Hungarian MEPs in the European Parliament.

He speaks fluent Hungarian, English and German.

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Roberto Musneci
Senior Partner, Serban & Musneci Associates, Romania

Roberto is co-founder of and a senior partner in Serban & Musneci Associates, a Bucharest-based consultancy specializing in public affairs, public relations and reputation management. He has 30 years of experience in the pharmaceutical and healthcare sector in Eastern Europe, where he set up multinational operations and negotiated acquisitions, spin-offs and divestment deals prior to leading a global business for a major multinational.

Roberto has served as President of the American Chamber of Commerce in Romania, as vice president of the Pharmaceutical Industry Association, and as a member of the Romanian Foreign Investors Council. He is one of the founding members and served for over 12 years as vice president of the Aspen Institute Romania. Since 2015, Roberto is President of the Italian Chamber of Commerce. Roberto has also created a corporate social responsibility (CSR) foundation which has received several awards for its work in healthcare, education and anti-discrimination. He sat on the boards of several companies listed on the London and Bucharest stock exchanges.

In June 2019 he presented his credentials as Ambassador of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta to Romania. The Order in Romania is involved in over 100 social inclusion and healthcare projects with its 1500 volunteers.

Roberto holds a Cum Laude degree in Economics from LUISS University in Rome and further completed his studies in Germany, the Ashridge College, and LSE in the UK and Duke University in North Carolina.

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Natko Vlahovic
CEO, Vlahovic Group, Croatia

Natko Vlahovic is the Founder and Managing Director of Vlahovic Group LLC, the first specialised government relations and lobbying firm in Croatia. Natko is also a Co-founder and Managing Director of the Croatia-EU Business Council, and President of the Croatian Lobbying Association and an Untitled Governor at the American Chamber of Commerce in Croatia. He started his career in 1999 at the Croatian Embassy in Washington, D.C., where he worked on various trade promotion and investment relations projects.

He was an External Member of the European Affairs Committee within the Croatian Parliament and led the Brussels office of the Croatian Chamber of Small and Medium Enterprises (HOK) for seven years. Natko holds a B.A. in Political Science from St. Francis College, USA, an M.A. in Croatian Political System and Administration from the Faculty of Political Science in Zagreb and an Executive M.B.A. from the Bled School of Management in Slovenia. He frequently lectures and writes about public affairs, lobbying and political representation for private and public sector organisations in Croatia and abroad.

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Vasyl Myroshnychenko
Partner, CFC Big Ideas, Ukraine

Vasyl is a Partner at CFC Big Ideas, a Kyiv-based strategic communications company, with which he has been since its inception in 2002. He advises clients on corporate communications, investor relations and public affairs, and has over 15 years of experience helping international clients across multiple sectors develop relationships with government, civil society and local community stakeholders.

Vasyl is a co-founder of Ukraine Crisis Media Centre, a media NGO set up in 2014 aimed at amplifying Ukraine’s voice internationally. He sits on the board of the Ukrainian-British City Club, a London-based organization promoting UK-Ukraine trade and investment relations.

Vasyl was a Chevening Scholar and he holds MA and BA degrees in international relations from the Institute of International Relations, Kyiv National Shevchenko University (2002, 2003). He also obtained an MSc in Politics of the World Economy from the London School of Economics and Political Science in 2006. He graduated from the Swedish Institute Management Programme, an executive program focused on sustainability.

He is also a graduate of Global Village for Future Leaders of Business and Industry programme at Iacocca Institute, Lehigh University and Canada-Ukraine Parliamentary Programme. He was a Marshall Memorial Fellow in 2019, a prestigious leadership programme administered by the German Marshall Fund of the United States. Vasyl is additionally a graduate of the Global Village for Future Leaders of Business and Industry programme at Iacocca Institute, Lehigh University (2002, USA) and the Swedish Institute Management Program (Sweden, 2009). He also undertook a two-week intensive course on public affairs and advocacy at the Center of Congressional and Presidential Studies at American University in Washington, DC, in 2014.

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Arunas Pemkus
Chairman, Integrity PR, Lithuania

Arunas established Integrity PR, one of the most successful public relations firms in Lithuania, in 2000 and he is currently its Chairman. Arunas is focused on energy, health, environment, IT and financial issues, undertaking work at all levels of government.

In 1989, Arunas became a political appointee under President George Bush Sr. and worked in the White House as well as the US Department of State in the Bureaus of Human Rights as well as Diplomatic Security. He came to Lithuania in 1993 as Country Manager for KPMG’s privatization consultancy. Between 1997-1998 Arunas was a senior advisor in the election campaign of President Valdas Adamkus and organized his inauguration ceremonies.

Arunas has a BA in Political Science and Russian Language (1982) from Northwestern University (Chicago), and an MS in Financial Accounting (1989) from Georgetown University (Washington, DC). Arunas is involved in various charity and volunteer activities and is a Member of the Board for many organizations, including the ISM Economics and Management University in Vilnius, First Lady Alma Adamkus Children’s Charity and Support Fund, the Lithuanian Catholic Association “Ateitis” Foundation, the Human Rights Monitoring Institute, and Transparency International Lithuania.

A US citizen with permanent Lithuanian residency, Arunas has worked in Lithuania for over 20 years and speaks Lithuanian, English, French, and Russian.

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Vladlens Kovalevs
Managing Partner, VA Government, Latvia

Vladlens Kovalevs is managing partner of VA Government, the leading public affairs firm in Latvia. VA Government is experienced in traditionally heavily regulated sectors, as well as emerging tech-based industries. Together with VA Communications and VA Purpose, the firm offers full-spectrum corporate affairs services, including public affairs, corporate communications and sustainability consulting.

As partner at VA Government, Vladlens provides counsel to his clients on political, regulatory, and public issues including in the tech, financial, FMCG, pharma, and energy sectors. Vladlens’ specializations include government relations and campaign management, as well as international communications. Prior to founding VA Government, he was stationed at the Cassidy & Associates government relations firm in Washington, D.C.

Vladlens holds a BSc degree in Economics and Business from the Stockholm School of Economics in Riga and has completed the Public Affairs and Advocacy Institute at American University in Washington, D.C. Alongside youth activism, green policy, and foreign affairs, he is interested in active civic participation in the fields of non-governmental and public benefit organizations, being a Co-Founder of the non-profit Global Shapers Riga by the World Economic Forum.

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Andreas Kaju
Partner, Meta Advisory, Estonia

Andreas is the co-founder and managing partner of Meta Advisory Group, the leading public affairs consultancy in Estonia.

In Meta, Andreas has supported clients in banking and finance, telecommunication, technology, pharmaceutical and life sciences businesses, transport and logistics, food and beverages and in other regulated industries. Additionally Andreas advises Meta’s customer portfolio in different strategic projects and has a special expertise in crisis communications.

After starting out his career working for the business lobby at the Estonian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Andreas gathered broad experience in politics, serving as an adviser to the Estonian Prime Minister and Minister of Defence. He was head of staff in the parliament to the Conservative Party, as well as a political secretary to the Party. Andreas’ academic interests are in philosophy and international affairs, and he is the co-founder of the most popular political blog in Estonia, PoliitikaGuru, appearing regularly as a political commentator in Estonian media.

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